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That’s a dirty shame

Race participants stay cool during the annual JBLM Down ‘n Dirty 5K Mud Run

Northwest Guardian

Published: 11:00PM July 24th, 2014

When Anthony Wilkins found out about the Down & Dirty 5K Mud Run at Soldiers Field House on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, he learned that participants were encouraged to sport shirts and capes resembling their favorite super heroes during the July 19 run.

It was perfect for Wilkins, who has a collection of comic book icons’ costumes; including Superman, Batman, Thor, Captain America and more. For the annual obstacle course run, he wore a complete Spiderman costume; standing out among the crowd of runners, many of which only donned T-shirts with a hero’s logo topped off with a cape.

“It’s all the way or go home,” Wilkins said from behind his “Spidey” mask, he enjoyed the attention of children wanting a picture or autograph before the race began. “One kid asked me to do a backflip and I couldn’t, so I had to break his heart.”

Other runners were part of groups that matched either as the same superhero or as a superhero team — in many cases bringing their favorite Saturday-morning cartoon to life for a late Saturday morning run.

Anthony Lara, Andrew Galvan and Kodi Dyer all dressed as members of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; dressed as Raphael, Leonardo and Donatello respectively.

Despite missing the fourth turtle, Michelangelo, and unable to find someone to portray the evil Shredder or Master Splinter, they said dressing up as the iconic “shell shockers” was a good way to have fun outside of work and relieve stress.

Wilkins and the group of turtles were just some of many who dressed to the event’s theme during the three-mile run around the fitness center complex; splashing through a collection of mud puddles and low- crawling through mud pits.

Sprinklers were kept on to create the muddy ground. Although messy and wet, the event was considered refreshing by many after multiple days of warm weather — unusual for the Pacific Northwest.

At the end of the race, a traditional finish line was replaced with a large inflatable slip ‘n slide where participants could relive backyard activities from their childhood.

“It’s a challenge, but it’s rewarding at the same time,” said Erin Allen. “It brings out the kid in you that wants to play in the dirt and get away with it.”

While the mud pits and slip ‘n slide finish line cooled off runners as temperatures reached the 80s, after finishing, everyone rushed to a giant sprinkler to begin washing off the mud.

JBLM Fire and Emergency Services also brought out a hazardous materials truck to provide extra showers for runners to clean up, which many claimed were colder than expected.

“The water definitely shocked me because it was so cold, but it was so refreshing,” said Tien Trinh.

At the end of the event, the Ninja Turtle trio said they had so much fun they are already planning their theme for the 2015 Mud Run.

“We’ll probably go with the Power Rangers,” Galvan said. “Or maybe the Powderpuff Girls.”

Dean Siemon: @deansiemon